Pervert escapes jail despite being caught trying to groom 14-year-old girl on the web
A man expecting to meet a 14-year-old girl walked in to a trap set by an online paedophile hunter, a court heard.
Jason Baxter spent weeks ‘grooming’ the teenager called ‘Ellie’ on social networking site Facebook.
Stafford Crown Court heard how he used the pseudonym to send an indecent photograph to the victim.
But the account was being operated by a man called Brendan Collis, a self-appointed internet guardian.
After conversations with ‘Ellie’, Baxter arranged a meeting in Ripley market square, in Derbyshire.
Mr Collis was waiting to see who turned up and when he recognised Baxter from his Facebook profile, he called Derbyshire Police, who then arrested him.
Baxter, 49, of Church View, Burton, was given a three-year community order with a sex offender treatment programme.
He admitted attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming, attempting to incite a child to sexual activity and attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act.
Judge Carmel Wall told him: “It is fortunate there is no actual victim here because there was no girl at the other end of the electronic communication. I accept this was an isolated offence and you have shown remorse for it. You didn’t pretend to be someone other than who you really are.”
Alongside the sentence, Baxter was also ordered to register as a sex offender for five years and banned for life from working with children.
Amritsa Parathalingam, prosecuting, said “Ellie” went online last December, claiming to be a 14-year-old.
‘She’ was contacted by Baxter in January.
Their first conversations surrounded her interests and where she was from, but they became sexualised, initiated by the defendant.
Eventually, Baxter sent ‘Ellie’ a message asking for a meeting on March 1.
After Baxter’s arrest, officers asked if he felt excited about the prospect of meeting ‘Ellie’, he said he did, but from a ‘fantasy point of view’.
Chris Brewin, defending, said Baxter, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, had never been in trouble before.
He said: “He is disgusted about his actions. He didn’t lie about his own age. He is very sorry for what he’s done and he was very scared he might go to prison.”